Members of Congress have tremendous power over the conduct and support of the nation's research enterprise, through appropriating the funds, authorizing programs, and carrying out oversight activities. Yet the policymakers on Capitol Hill often get little input from their constituents about science policy or budgets. Those Members with probably the biggest impact on science programs are the appropriators. They are responsible for writing the bills that provide funding for federal departments and agencies. There are 13 appropriations subcommittees in each chamber of Congress. Within the jurisdiction of these subcommittees, R&D agencies often have to compete for funding with other priorities, such as veterans' and housing programs.
Authorization bills provide funding caps or guidelines for federal programs. In theory, authorizing legislation is supposed to provide guidance for appropriators. In reality, appropriators do not always heed the authorizers, and authorization bills are often not passed in a timely manner, if at all. However, authorization bills, even in draft form, still can have an influence on funding for a project or agency.
There are several major appropriations and authorization committees or subcommittees in each chamber that have jurisdiction over most federal programs tracked by FYI. To get information on committee chairs, rosters, hearing schedules and legislation, or to determine if your representative or senators sit on a certain committee, please see the (sub)committee web sites below. To find the name of your representative, see http://www.house.gov/.
(Please be aware that many of the URLs run more than one line.)
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE 6.1, 6.2 and 6.3:
NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION:
DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY:
FOR AUTHORIZATION OF DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY'S NATIONAL NUCLEAR SECURITY ADMINISTRATION:
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION:
DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY R&D: